May 1, 2021

Earth Day and Beyond: Ideas in Sustainability

Were one to observe with an eye that discovereth the realities of all things, it would become clear that the greatest relationship that bindeth the world of being together lieth in the range of created things themselves, and that co-operation, mutual aid and reciprocity are essential characteristics in the unified body of the world of being, inasmuch as all created things are closely related together and each is influenced by the other or deriveth benefit therefrom, either directly or indirectly.
– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Earth Day has come and gone, but our responsibilities towards the planet and each other never ends, not even amid a pandemic. As the spring sun beckons the flowers to push through the earth, the tree buds to show their iridescent green faces and the many returning bird species to trill their welcoming songs, our spirits are lifted despite this Covid-weary world.

Now that warm weather has drawn more and more of us outside, now is the time to shake up our consumer habits a little more and undertake projects that not only give us personal joy but helps the earth and the natural world, which is in dire need of our stewardship. Here are some suggestions on what you can do safely:

Do you have a garden? Consider building a pollinator garden if you haven’t already! Select a variety of open and tubular flowers for the spring to fall season that attract pollinators such as asters, lavender, coneflowers, sunflowers, zinnias, gaillardias, great blue lobelias, petunias, lilies, nannyberry, wild columbine and milkweed (for Monarch butterflies).

Do you have a lot of birds in your neighbourhood? Feeding birds is wonderful, but protecting them is also vital, given that over a billion birds in North America are killed in window collisions every year. To keep them safe, place decals or chimes (homemade or commercial) in your windows. If you wish for more information on how to protect birds, contact The Safe Wings Ottawa Facebook site.

Do you like walks in nature or do you live in a neighbourhood rich in wildlife? Consider becoming a citizen scientist and report your sightings to Your walks will be all the richer! And if you have kids, help them to become conservators now and in the future by registering them as Earth Rangers, a site that offers an app with home projects and initiatives to help safe wildlife and preserve nature in their neighbourhood and beyond.

For those of you who are handymen or handywomen, consider building a nest box for birds (Hinterland Who's Who - Put up Nesting Shelves (, or build a bat box to keep the insect population down Canadian Wildlife Federation: Help the Bats (, or even a mason beehive (How to Make a DIY Mason Bee Beehive (

When it comes to our personal consumer habits, there’s so much we can do. One way is to become part of the circular economy: use share programs such as libraries, tool libraries, vehicle and bike shares, as well as movie and music streaming. Rent products you can’t borrow; buy products made from responsibly recycled materials. Reduce, reuse and upcycle by repairing products or buy refurbished products instead of new ones. Giving old furniture and items new life by sanding and using environmentally safe paints can also be very rewarding and creative. Rethink your consumer habits by joining “buy nothing” groups online where you can share items with your neighbours. (

Did you know that the average human being ingests some 70,000 microplastics each year and that the seas are glutted with plastic waste that endanger both human and marine life? Reduce your use of plastic in all its forms: use reusable bags when shopping and aluminum cups and glasses minus the reusable straws when in transit. Buy bulk when you can, grow your own vegetable garden, either in your home, on your patio or in your garden. Purchase natural fiber clothing to reduce microfiber garments, such as those made from hemp, linen, organic cotton, silk, wool, alpaca and Tencel.

Last but not least, wake up every morning with gratitude and thankfulness to God for the precious gift of your life, and for this most beautiful of planets we live on. As Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, stated: “Ponder ye in your hearts the grace and the blessings of God and render thanks unto Him at eventide and at dawn.”

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